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The Kop Cantona? How Luis Suarez could be this generation's answer to the Manchester United marvel

by Al 7. January 2013 04:56

The last time the Premier League saw a character as enigmatic and brilliant as Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, it was a dazzling Frenchman whose name is still sung on the terraces decades after exiting English football. Eric Cantona's legacy is like no other - but in Suarez the Manchester United legend may have a spiritual successor. It's not a comparison many would leap to, especially not fans of the players' respective clubs, but the similarities are compelling...

When Cantona arrived at United, he was a man on a mission - a rescue mission. United were languishing behind Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers as well as surprise challengers Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers in the race for the 1992-93 Premier League title when the French maestro, sold by Leeds United for a paltry £1.2m to rid chairman Bill Fotherby of an outcast deemed unpredictable and lacking commitment, turned up to jolt the Manchester club's season into life. With summer signing Dion Dublin sidelined with a broken leg and Bryan McClair and Mark Hughes desperately out of form, Cantona was relied upon to deliver much-needed goals - and deliver he did. 9 goals later, United were ten points ahead of the pack, romping home to perhaps the most unlikely title in their history.

Suarez enjoyed a similar impact. Not unlike Cantona, he was offloaded mid-season to a side struggling for goals after a string of controversial incidents and handed the number 7 shirt. Both shirts came laden with expectation. At Liverpool, the number was previously donned by Dalglish and Kevin Keegan, while at United previous owners were the mercurial George Best and Bryan Robson. The Uruguayan came off the bench to score on his debut (despite not having had time to train with the team before the match, taking place just days after his transfer) and was highly influential in his remaining 12 appearances, rocketing the Reds up to sixth and into Europe. "The boy's a very special player. A Liverpool legend in the making," said Dalglish as Suarez quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the league just as Cantona had done two seasons previous.

In the years that followed both stars' arrivals, they became increasingly depended upon, with critics suggesting both Manchester United and Liverpool had become one man teams. In the 93-94 season, Cantona provided 31% of the team's goals (compared to the last time United won the league in 2011, during which leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov scored 25% of the team's goals) while so far this season Suarez has been involved in 58% of Liverpool's goals. In 2012 the Kop hero created 75 chances from open play to become the Premier League's second most effective attacking player, second only to Manchester City's David Silva, and took more shots on goal than any other player in the English game (163), scoring 19.

Though their playing styles are different, with Suarez's game characterised by nimble runs and scrambled goal  s a world apart from the leisurely, elegant play typical of the Frenchman, the pair are also drawn together by their penchant for controversy. This weekend saw the latest Suarez storm, with the star labelled a cheat for handling the ball to score the decisive goal in a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Mansfield. Since landing in England he's been embroiled in an alleged racism scandal that dominated headlines in 2012, handed a ban for taunting opposition support and accused of diving. Before that he was famously sent off in a tense 2010 World Cup clash between Uruguay and Ghana for clearing the ball from the line with his hands and labelled the Cannibal of Ajax for biting an opponent.

Eric Cantona Signed Manchester United 1996 FA Cup Winners Shirt

Cantona meanwhile was rarely out of the headlines during his tenure at Manchester United. The Frenchman averaged a red card once in every 24 Premier League games. To put that into context, reputed Premier League hardmen Roy Keane and Patrick Viera averaged a sending off once in every 54 and 35 games respectively. Even the game's most notorious hardman Vinnie Jones was sent off less times than Cantona. But it was a cold January evening at Selhurst Park in 1995 that will go down as his most infamous moment. Sent off for a kick on Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw, the Frenchman launched a kung-fu kick to the chest of an abusive fan as he headed for the dressing room, earning a lengthy ban and 100 hours of community service. His only explanation of his actions at the later press conference? "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

But the greatest similarity between the two players is not the controversy they attract but how they each rise above it. When Suarez eventually retires, it won't be the furore that he's remembered for. It'll be the football. The deft touches. The gasps from the crowds as another ball is guided into the back of the net with surgical precision. Just like Cantona.

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Follow Icons on Twitter for all the latest football news, chat and competitions: @icons_football

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Win a signed Luis Suarez shirt with Icons and ESPN!

by Al 9. May 2012 05:38

Icons have a great relationship with the good people at ESPN and this week we're teaming up to give away a signed Luis Suarez Liverpool shirt to one lucky winner.

To enter the competition click here and answer the simple question. The deadline for entries is midnight (GMT) on Sunday 13 May. Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity - enter now!

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Check out Icons' complete range of signed Luis Suarez products here

Follow Icons on Twitter @icons_football

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Icons FA Cup Final Special!

by Al 3. May 2012 05:51

This Saturday Chelsea and Liverpool clash at Wembley in the 131st FA Cup final. To celebrate this fantastic footballing occasion, Icons are offering special discounts on personally signed boots from star strikers Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.

Fernando Torres has endured a difficult time at Chelsea since his £50m transfer from Liverpool in January 2011, but his dramatic solo goal in the dying minutes of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona at Camp Nou has proved a turning point. Playing with newly-found confidence and conviction, Torres smashed a superb hat-trick in the following game against QPR. He is now making a strong case for inclusion in Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad for Euro 2012. Check out his personally signed Nike Total 90 boot here and grab yourself a fantastic £75 OFF while the offer lasts.

The day before Torres' hat-trick against QPR, Liverpool's Luis Suarez completed one of the finest trebles in Premier League history in a 3-0 defeat of Norwich. The fiery Uruguayan has been a figure of controversy this season, but his performance against Norwich was a reminder of the dazzling skill and ability that has made him one of Europe's most in-demand strikers. Now is your chance to make the most of a fantastic £75 REDUCTION and pick up an Adidas F50 boot personally signed by Suarez himself. Take a look here.

Cup competitions have provided welcome relief for both Chelsea and Liverpool this season. While Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool have already secured the Carling Cup trophy, Chelsea have the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to look forward to on 25 May. With a historic cup double on the cards for both sides, Saturday’s match promises to be a fiercely contested affair.

So who will you be backing, Liverpool or Chelsea? Suarez or Torres? Grab your discounted signed boot now, and let us know your FA Cup final predictions on Twitter @icons_football.

Buy the Suarez boot HERE

Buy the Torres boot HERE

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A Year in Review: Luis Suarez

by Al 2. December 2011 05:27

2011 has been a whirlwind for Liverpool's explosive striker Luis Suarez. Following his £22.7m transfer from Dutch champions Ajax in January, Suarez has established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League and a worthy proprietor to Liverpool's iconic no7 shirt. This week we met up with the Uruguayan hotshot in London for our second signing session together. 

An unspectacular return of 11 goals in 29 appearances for Liverpool in 2011 does not tell the full story for Suarez. Boundless energy and enthusiasm combined with outstanding skill and technique have made him a Kop favourite. The fiery Uruguayan was an instant hit at Anfield, scoring 16 minutes into his debut against Stoke City in February. He has been Liverpool's shining light all year. He further endeared himself to Kopites with his first Merseyside derby goal against Everton in a 2-0 win in October.

Suarez has never been a character to shy away from the spotlight, and since his move to England he has made for compulsive viewing. Goals continue to arrive sporadically for the Uruguayan, but he has been at the heart of Liverpool's finest moments this year. When the ball is not at his feet, he is usually furiously barking orders at teammates or madly sprinting after lost causes. He has tireless endeavour to match sublime talent, and he has become one of the most entertaining (and controversial) players around.

While trophies at Liverpool remain a work in progress, Suarez has already tasted glory with Uruguay in 2011 at the Copa America in Argentina. One of the stars of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Suarez was similarly effective this summer in Argentina. He was named Player of the Tournament and scored four goals in total, including a brace in the semi-final against Peru and one in the final against Paraguay. His excellent form at international level continued when he sensationally netted all four of Uruguay's goals as they beat Chile 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier in early November. He now boasts 26 goals in 52 games for Uruguay, and it's surely only a matter of time before the floodgates open at Liverpool too.

We held our first signing with Luis back in March of this year, and we were delighted to catch up with him for a second time this week. Check out our superb new range of signed products from the Liverpool star.

The famous no7 shirt

Brand new Adidas boot

Trademark goal celebration

To view the full range click here

Messi leads Icons named on Ballon d'Or shortlist

by Al 1. November 2011 08:28

We are delighted to see our Icons making up nine of the 23-man shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or. Barcelona and Argentina's Leo Messi is the overwhelming favourite, and will match Michel Platini's record of three consecutive Ballon d'Ors if he is triumphant. Last year there were five Icons on the shortlist. This year we have grown. Let us know who you would like to see next on the site by getting in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is the only Englishman to have been nominated, and is one of only five players connected to the Premier League on the shortlist. Of those five, Manchester City's Sergio Aguero only played half of 2011 in England, while ex-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas now plays for Barcelona. In Spain, Barcelona lead the way with an incredible eight nominees, while rivals Real Madrid boast five.

Which Icon will be crowned World Player of the Year? Here is the complete shortlist:

Eric Abidal (France), Barcelona

Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Manchester City

Karim Benzema (France), Real Madrid

Iker Casillas (Spain), Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Real Madrid

Dani Alves (Brazil), Barcelona

Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Anzhi Makhachkala

Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Barcelona

Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Inter Milan

Andres Iniesta (Spain), Barcelona

Leo Messi (Argentina), Barcelona

Thomas Muller (Germany), Bayern Munich

Nani (Portugal), Manchester United

Neymar (Brazil), Santos

Mesut Ozil (Germany), Real Madrid

Gerard Pique (Spain), Barcelona

Wayne Rooney (England), Manchester United

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Bayern Munich

Wesley Sneijder (Holland), Inter Milan

Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Liverpool

David Villa (Spain), Barcelona

Xabi Alonso (Spain), Real Madrid

Xavi (Spain), Barcelona

Icons Legend of the Week #9: Ian Rush

by Al 6. September 2011 06:38

With an incredible 346 goals in 660 appearances, Ian Rush's achievements as a Liverpool striker may well never be matched. A predatory finisher and tireless worker with an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time, no man has sparked delirium at Anfield with quite the same regularity as Icons Legend of the Week #9.

With a penchant for scoring crucial goals, Rush spearheaded the Liverpool side that dominated the game during the 1980s. Over the course of 15 seasons at Anfield, Liverpool's all-time record goalscorer won five league titles, five League Cups and three FA Cups, not to mention the greatest club accolade of all, the European Cup. His languid and ungainly demeanor did not initially inspire confidence at Liverpool, but when he made his scoring breakthrough in 1981 he soon proved that looks can be deceptive. Forming a lethal strike partnership with fellow Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish (above, left), Rush netted 30 times in 49 appearances during the 1981/82 season - his first as a first-team regular - propelling the Reds to a league and cup double.

1982/83 was another double-winning campaign for Liverpool, but it was the following season that would be remembered as Rush's zenith. Liverpool completed a historic treble that season when they famously defeated AS Roma 4-2 on penalties in the European Cup final, with Rush among Liverpool's successful penalty-takers. With a remarkable total of 47 goals in 65 games, the Welshman scooped the European Golden Boot and PFA Player of the Year award. In only his fourth season on Merseyside, Rush's name was already carved into Liverpool folklore.

But how different his story could have been. Not long after becoming Britain's most expensive teenager when he was signed from Chester City for £300,000 in 1980, Rush - frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities - confronted Liverpool manager Bob Paisley with a transfer request. Paisley's refusal to sanction the Welshman's proposed move to Crystal Palace would prove one of the best decisions he ever made.

More success followed, and in 1986 Rush fired the Reds to yet another double which included his first FA Cup win, a 3-1 triumph over Merseyside rivals Everton which saw him put in a goal scoring, man-of-the-match performance. His emphatic scoring record was not going unnoticed across the continent and in July 1986, with a host of top European clubs hovering, Rush signed for Italian giants Juventus for a British record £3m. He spent the first year of his Juventus contract on loan with Liverpool before moving to Italy in 1987. Rush's season in Turin was a difficult one as he managed just seven goals in 29 Serie A appearances, and after failing to settle in his new surroundings, he was welcomed back to Anfield with open arms in the summer of 1988.

On his return to Merseyside, Rush found himself in competition with new Liverpool strikers John Aldridge and Peter Beardsley. The goals continued to flow at a steady rate for the Welshman though, and he picked up two FA Cups, a League Cup and a First Division title in the eight seasons before his eventual departure from Liverpool in 1996.

Rush is Wales' record goalscorer with 28 goals from 73 appearances. But despite his excellent return, Wales were never able to qualify for a major tournament during his career, meaning he joins the likes of George Best and Ryan Giggs as a legend who never appeared at the highest level of international football.

Rush remains one of the most decorated players in Anfield history, and an inspiration to Liverpool supporters young and old. The likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll have one hell of a task on their hands if they are to get close to that goal scoring record. 

Copa America competition winner with his prize!

by Al 2. August 2011 10:07

Congratulations to the young winner of our Copa America competition!

Ryan Allison, 13, correctly predicted that Uruguay would win the Copa America before the group stages had even kicked off. Ryan is now the proud owner of a Leo Messi signed Adidas F50 boot. Here he is with his prize!

With Liverpool Icon Luis Suarez on fire throughout the tournament, Uruguay claimed their first Copa America title since 1995 after defeating Paraguay 3-0 in the final in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Thank you to everyone who entered. With more giveaways and competitions to follow, make sure you keep your eyes peeled and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Leo Messi signed boot Competition Winner!

by Ben 25. July 2011 10:34

Well the Copa America has now been and gone, having thrown up some interesting suprises along the way!

To coincide with the historic tournament, Icons were giving a way an Adidas football boot, personally signed by the greatest player in the world today, Leo Messi. All our winner had to do, was correctly predict the winner of the competition.

 

Last night it was Uruguay who took home the coverted Copa America trophy, for a record 15th time. We have emailed Ryan, our lucky random winner who correctly predicted Uruguay.

Thank you to all of our fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter and subscribers to our newsletter who entered the competition.

 

Highlights of Luis Suarez and the boys' celebrations last night can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG0-1ppIOwg

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Forward Friday: El Pistolero, Luis Suarez

by Finbarr 21. July 2011 07:27

 

As their paths crossed in the Anfield players' car park, Fernando Torres would have been forgiven if he'd gone a little green in the face. For here was his heir apparent bouncing in the door, brimming with confidence; whilst he was to trundle down the M6, a shadow of his former self.

Luis Suarez had big boots to fill. Torres had built a reputation as one of the finest strikers to have worn the Liverpool red: the complete forward. But in recent years, injuries niggled. El Nino looked sullen and detached and for the first time, his attitude was questioned by the Kop.

Fast forward six months and most of the Liverpool fans agree that Henry, Dalglish et al operated shrewdly. Suarez has delighted Kopites with a series of dazzling performance, a tenacity and commitment their forward line had been sorely lacking and a huge injection of South American flair. Whilst he's got a long way to go before he shakes the Kop, the early signs are good.

Before joining Liverpool in the January transfer window of 2011, Suarez's signature was much sought after across the continent. He made his name in the Eredivise in Holland, first with Groningen and then Ajax.

At the Amsterdam Arena, he blossomed into one of the most prolific strikers in Europe. In his third season with the club, he notched an incredible 45 goals in 44 games. He joined the illustrious company of Bergkamp, Cruyff and Van Basten in being scoring over 100 goals for the club and continued in exhilarating fashion for his national side. 

But ironically for someone with such a keen eye for goal, Suarez is not an out an out striker. During the 2010 World Cup, Suarez starred for an impressive Uruguay side that surprised many by making it to the semi final, but he did so as a cog in a triumvirate with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Cavani led the line, with Suarez and Forlan dropping back to support the midfield, creating as many as they scored.

Indeed, Suarez embodied the combination of hard work, quick thinking and élan that Oscar Tabarez instilled in the side. With Uruguay stuttering in this year's Copa America, it was Suarez who stepped up to the plate, firing them through first the Group Stage and then the semi final. Having been cast as the pantomime villian following his goal-line handball in last year's World Cup Semi Final, Suarez is now being heralded for the guts and winning attitude that drove him to bend the rules.

Liverpool fans will have been watching his performances at the Copa America with great interest. In his short spell with the club, Luis Suarez has been hugely impressive, but his partnership with Andy Carroll has yet to ignite.

Carroll has spent the majority of his Liverpool career on the sidelines, injured. The pair are seen as the figureheads of the Dalglish revolution: young, dynamic, exciting. With the squad undergoing a substantial makeover in the summer, fans will be looking to the pair to quickly repay their large transfer fees.

It's an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan and nobody personifies the buzz about Anfield better than Luis Suarez.

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Luis Suarez: Icon in the making

by Dan 21. March 2011 12:55
Luis Suarez's impact at Anfield is already substantial: a debut goal inside 16 minutes, a classic turn to set up a goal against West Ham, a now legendary dribble round the entire Manchester United defence and a cracker against Sunderland at the weekend. Not only that but his arrival on Merseyside seems to have lifted the team and all the supporters as they look forward to a brighter future. This all adds up to an impressive start by the livewire Uruguayan.

Icons is always the first to bring you signed products by the world's greatest players, and it's now time to add Luis to that list. He's sure to be a fans' favourite at Liverpool for years to come, so get yourself a piece of Suarez signed memorabilia today and you can say you were first to spot an icon in the making.

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About Icons Memorabilia

Welcome to the icons blog, we'll be regularly posting here about what's going on with our star signings and what new products have arrived

We love what we do so we'll also be talking about what's going on in the world of football and sport in general.

We'd really appreciate your feedback and comments too.

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